Miami Civic Center could get new community redevelopment agency
By Risa Polansky
Miami's Civic Center/Health District, home to Jackson Memorial Hospital, has become a target for a new community redevelopment agency. Some question the intent.
Property tax valuations are capped within agency bounds. Tax generated above the cap is spent to revitalize the neighborhood.
County commissioners agreed last week to a feasibility study of the Civic Center area.
City Commissioner Tomás Regalado fears the aim is to create a piggybank to pad the hospital's budget.
He referred to the county and Miami's agreement on major public works projects, through which a downtown agency's revenue repays performing arts center construction debt and is to fund a port tunnel and revamp of Bicentennial Park.
"I think it's wrong. The county is using the Omni CRA to pay for the debt of the PAC. And now they want to use the Civic Center CRA to pay for the debt of Jackson Memorial," Mr. Regalado said. Using an agency to support Jackson would be "taking money from the city and from the county to fix problems they are not able to fix."
But Bernardo Escobar, senior assistant to Commissioner Javier Souto, who sponsored the measure, said the idea is "to develop the whole area. The University of Miami will benefit, Jackson will benefit."
Commissioner Joe Martinez said he believed the boundaries would include only Jackson property. That way, the hospital's own tax revenue would circle back to help itself.
The area would be bounded by I 95 to the east, Northwest 22nd Avenue to the west, State Road 836 and the Miami River to the south and Northwest 28th Street to the north. It would include University of Miami Hospital.
Should bounds encompass other entities to use outside tax revenue as a boost for Jackson, count Mr. Martinez out. "Then it would be exactly like the global agreement."